May 13, 2021

Man Utd


Four cheaper Erling Haaland alternatives who are actually better for Man United

4 min read

Erling Haaland has been identified as a priority transfer target for Manchester United this summer.

Having compiled a simply staggering record at Borussia Dortmund, with 49 goals in just 52 games, the 20-year-old has established himself as one of the hottest properties in world football.

Several elite European clubs, such as La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, have been linked with a big-money move for the Norwegian, who is expected to cost upwards of £100million should he leave the Bundesliga side.

Speculation over Haaland’s future started to intensify on the back of reports that his representatives – including his father Alf Inge and ‘super agent’ Mino Raiola – met with six clubs for proposed transfer talks this Easter.

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One of them was, of course, United, who the MEN understands have put Haaland at the top of their transfer wish list.

But, should the Norwegian star prove unattainable, then there are alternatives to the Dortmund striker out there.

Here, we take a closer look at four players who have been more deadly than the former Red Bull Salzburg man so far this season and who are also being priced-up at a much more affordable rate.

In order to offer insight on our selection criteria, we have focused solely on shot conversion, which is calculated by dividing the number of shots taken by the number of goals scored. In effect, the higher the rate, the more accurate a player has been in terms of finishing.

With 21 goals from 69 attempts in the Bundesliga so far this season, Haaland has a strike-rate of 30.44 per cent.

Meanwhile, according to Transfermarkt, his market value is £99million. But who are the four players who currently represent better value for money in front of goal?

Max Kruse (Union Berlin)

He may be a veteran of German football and at 33 years old heading towards the twilight of his career, but Kruse has been the most clinical striker across the top five divisions this season.

European contenders Union Berlin have benefitted immeasurably from his 10 goals in 16 games, which offers a goal-per-match ratio better than every other striker in the Bundesliga, except for Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) and Andre Silva (Frankfurt).

Kruse is top of the tree when it comes to conversion rate, though, having needed only 22 attempts to reach double figures in the 2020/21 campaign, giving him an impressive 45.46 per cent.

Transfer value: £5.4m

A chart to show the most clinical finishers in the top divisions so far this season

Simy (Crotone)

Now this is where comparisons with some of the top names in European football really starts to get interesting.

Simy, who stands at 6ft 6in, has – pardon the pun – been head and shoulders above his Crotone teammates as they face up to almost certain relegation from Serie A.

Despite his rock-bottom side winning just four games this campaign, the 28-year-old only trails ex-United players Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) and Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan) in the race for the golden boot in Italy – and he does so with a much better strike-rate, too, at 37.21 per cent.

Imagine what he could do in a team at the right end of the standings.

Simy has been a shining light for Crotone this season

Transfer value: £4m

Mattia Destro (Genoa)

Another seasoned frontman at 30 years old whose experience comes with nous and a deadly Serie A rate which is only bettered by the aforementioned Simy.

Having moved to Genoa from Bologna last summer, the Italian has scored 10 goals in 23 appearances for the mid-table side, while he also been incredibly accurate in compiling that total, needing only 28 shots, giving him a return of 35.71 per cent.

That not only puts him ahead of Haaland, but free-scoring Poland striker Lewandowski, too.

Transfer value: £2.25m

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Franck Kessie (AC Milan)

Kessie is a midfielder, but it turns out he’s quite a prolific one – adding those vital goals from the engine room that United themselves are accustomed to.

Portuguese playmaker Bruno Fernandes remains the club’s top-scorer this season – while in days done by the likes of Paul Scholes have performed a similar role at Old Trafford.

Over in Serie A, the 24-year-old has underlined his knack of arriving in the right place at the right time, with a 34.48 per cent strike-rate enough to see him fourth on this list.

Transfer value: £45m

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